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FL law could have kept theater shooting tape from public view | News

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FL law could have kept theater shooting tape from public view

Tampa, Florida -- There have been several questions about release of the video recorded in the Wesley Chapel theater shooting.

Cameras captured retired Tampa Police Officer Curtis Reeves shooting Chad Oulson when the two argued because Oulson was texting in the theater.

On Wednesday, the judge ruled that the video will be played in the courtroom and it will be released 30 days later. However, it wasn't guaranteed the public would get to see the tape.

Florida has one of the broadest public records laws in the nation that basically says when a document -- and that includes video -- is created, with a few exceptions, it belongs to the public. And in trials when a defense attorney gets material from the state in what is called "discovery", the public gets that information.

However, in 2011 the legislature removed from public view a photograph, video, or audio recording that depicts or records the killing of a person from the public records.

The law was changed after Tampa Police officers Jeffery Kocab and David Curtis were murdered and it was captured on dash cam. A judge ruled reporters could view the video of accused murderer Dontae Morris taking out a gun at a traffic stop and shooting the two in the head in less than two seconds.

However, public records advocates argue when that information is used in a court hearing and it's turned over to the defense it should be public. And that's what they are arguing about in the Pasco theater shooting case.

Before the 2011 change to the law, the legislature removed autopsy photos from public record.


-Chad Oulson Memorial Fund
-Fundraising events taking place to benefit the family


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